Week of May 1, 2006







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Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for April 28, 2006

Lake Level Conditions:

All of the Great Lakes are 3 to 11 inches below the levels of a year ago.  Lake Superior is 1 inch below chart datum and is expected to rise 3 inches in the next month.  Lake Michigan-Huron is 1 inch above chart datum and is expected to rise four inches over the next month.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are expected to rise 1 to 4 inches by the end of May.  All of the Great Lakes are into their annual seasonal rise, but water levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain lower than 2005. 
Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is projected to be near average during the month of April.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are both anticipated to be below average during April.  The Niagara River and St. Lawrence River flows are expected to be above average in April.



Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St.

Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels Data Summary





St. Clair



Level for Apr 28






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff from last month, in inches






Diff from last yr







Berkley Pro Rides Power Bait ‘Beast’ to Bassmaster Elite Victory

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (April 25) – Berkley Pro Mike Iaconelli, Runnemede, N.J., edged out a who’s who of the world’s top anglers – including two past Bassmaster champions – to win a $100,000 paycheck and the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series’ Southern Challenge, presented by Berkley.  The event was held on Lake Guntersville, Guntersville, Alabama.


Iaconelli won with a total weight of 71.13 lbs, edging Alton Jones of Waco, Tex., by just two ounces.  Iaconelli caught a five fish limit, including his final keeper bass with three minutes left to fish. That last minute bass – caught on a Berkley Gulp! Noodle rigged with a finish nail stuck in the tail for a unique “backwards” fall – gave Iaconelli the boost he needed for the tournament win.  It also helped elevate him to third place in the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.


Iaconelli targeted spawning, pre-spawn, and post-spawn bass.  For bed-fish, Iaconelli threw a Berkley Power Bait

Beast, a new creature bait he helped design, and a Berkley Gulp!  Noodle on 8 lb. Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon.


For the deeper post-spawn bite, Iaconelli caught his fish on a blue and chartreuse Berkley Frenzy FD7-M crankbait on 12 lb. Berkley Trilene Sensation.   “I had a lot of success with ‘The Beast’ and the Noodle all week,” said Iaconelli.  “I’ve really gotten into the zone with all of the new Berkley soft baits – they’re quickly becoming my go to baits.”


“Sight fishing worked well for me right up to the end of the tournament.  I was looking at that last fish I caught with three minutes left.  That bass absolutely won it for me,” said Iaconelli.  “I had so much confidence in my Berkley line, my bait and my technique.  All of that with my never-give-up attitude was the difference-maker today.”


"I'm really proud of this one,” added Iaconelli.  “I’ve been close all year long and to finally have everything come together with a win this week is amazing.”

Free BoatU.S. Guide to buying and selling a boat

Have you found a great deal on a used boat and want to know if there have been manufacturer recalls that needed correction or major complaints from other owners? Do you know what the fine print means in a sales contract? Or, if you're selling a boat, do you know what an "exclusive listing" means?


The answers to these questions and many more are answered in a free guide, Buying and Selling a Boat, from BoatU.S. Consumer Affairs. It is now available online at www.BoatUS.com/guide


The 34-page guide will help the novice navigate unfamiliar waters and remind the seasoned boat owner of landmarks to steer by and trouble spots to avoid when trading up or selling. Unlike buying an automobile, the guide explains what to look

for when buying a new or used boat, such as manufacturing standards, surveys and sea trials. Also likely to be unfamiliar to the prospective boat owner - and clearly spelled out in the guide - is information on warranties, federal documentation, osmotic blisters, marine insurance and boat loans.


For sellers, there's a checklist to help evaluate your boat's condition, information on the pros and cons of selling on your own versus using a broker, and how to write a sales agreement. Important information is also included on how to use the BoatU.S. Consumer Bureau's free services, including the boating industry's only Recall Alert Registry that tracks safety defects for new and subsequent boat owners, the only national online complaint database for boats, engines and service providers such as boat dealers, and a dispute mediation program.



Know  your Creel Limits

With over 30 lakes and ponds and more than 45 miles of rivers and streams, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County offers anglers ideal spots to drop a worm or cast a fly. And for anglers to enjoy their sport responsibly, the Forest Preserve District reminds them to know their creel limits.


A creel limit states the maximum number of fish of a particular species an angler may keep in one day and the minimum length a fish must be in order for an angler to keep it.


The following creel limits apply at DuPage County forest preserves:

-Trout – five per day at no minimum length

-Largemouth or smallmouth bass – three per day at a minimum of 15 inches

-Channel and flathead catfish – a total of three per day at a minimum of 12 inches (any combination)

-Northern pike – three per day at a minimum of 24 inches

-Walleye – three per day at a minimum of 16 inches

-Crappie – 15 per day at a minimum of 9 inches

Some lakes and rivers have more stringent creel limits and designated catch-and-release zones, so anglers should always check the site-specific regulations that are posted at forest preserves and outlined in the “Fishing in DuPage County” guide.


Although DuPage County forest preserve lakes are regularly stocked to create better fishing,  the Forest Preserve District recommends that anglers practice catch-and-release fishing.  Forest Preserve District of DuPage County police officers strictly enforce creel limits in the preserves. All anglers ages 16 and older, except those who are legally disabled, are required to have valid Illinois sport fishing licenses in their possession, and those fishing for trout are required to carry valid Inland Trout Stamps also.


With over 25,000 acres, 140 miles of trail and 60 preserves all right at your feet, there's a perfect way to enjoy

DuPage County's forest preserves that's just waiting for you. For more info: (630) 933-7200, or visit www.dupageforest.com.


Governor announces plan for state trails system

Indiana to host statewide summit to coordinate planning May 31

Governor Mitch Daniels announced the state’s plan to build a system of trails that will better connect Hoosiers, contribute to the growing ethic of fitness and health, improve quality of life, and for some, provide an alternative means of transportation.


There are some 3,100 miles of trails in Indiana, and cities, towns, counties and townships across the state are making great strides in providing a wide variety of trails and greenways for Hoosiers, but most of these efforts don’t connect with trails that may be in nearby counties or towns.


To get help with honing a state plan, Daniels and Department of Natural Resources Director Kyle Hupfer announced plans for a May 31 Indiana Trails Plan Summit. About 300 trail planners will be invited to participate in the event to better coordinate trails efforts on a statewide basis. This group will assist in the preparation of the statewide trails plan and discuss ways to finance and implement the program.

Following the conference, the plan will be put out for public comment and the DNR will facilitate a series of public meetings to discuss its details.


The plan will look ahead to the next ten years when Indiana is expected to add hundreds of miles of trails which will be used by hikers, bikers, equestrians, joggers, off-road vehicles, snow mobiles and those who simply enjoy a relaxing stroll.


Gov. Daniels issued a directive to DNR to take a leadership role and develop the framework for the trails plan. DNR, the Indiana Department of Transportation, Department of Health, Office of Tourism, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation worked on the initial draft.


Since the first draft was completed, more then 30 leaders representing trail users, local government, regional development organizations, agriculture and business have provided input as a steering committee to refine the plan and organize the May 31 conference.


Muskie Die-Off Monitored

A significant number of muskellunge, the second largest game fish in Michigan, have been observed dead over the last month in Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers, according to Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists. The die-off is being monitored by the DNR and volunteer groups in the area.


"Any time a significant number of fish die, we are concerned for the resource and monitor the situation closely to determine the factors behind it," said Gary Towns, DNR Lake Erie Management Unit supervisor. "We feel the current situation has likely been caused by a combination of factors which have impacted the muskies in the area."


Towns said the DNR has essentially ruled out pollution as a factor.  He said species such as walleyes, emerald shiners and other minnows, which are more sensitive to pollution, do not seem to have been affected.  Anglers are currently catching lots of walleye, bass and other species which appear to be very healthy, Towns added.


DNR fisheries officials feel the die-off of muskellunge could have been caused by several factors including a combination of spawning stress, a warmer winter which may have set the stage for a higher incidence of disease, and recent rapid warming of water over the past several weeks.  It is unknown if the bacterial disease first detected in Lake St. Clair muskellunge in 2002, known as musky pox (Piscirickettsia sp.), is involved. Fish with visible signs of musky pox have red rashes and sunken eyes.


Towns said the muskies that are being found in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River appear to have died about a month ago and were likely on the bottom of the lake and river system. As they have been decomposing, they have floated to the surface

of the water, he said. Due to the decomposition, DNR pathologists cannot test the fish for musky pox or other diseases. Only live fish or fish that have been dead for less than a few hours can be tested for bacterial or viral diseases, Towns said.


The rapid warming of the water in the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair area could be a major factor, Towns said.  Normally in late April, the water temperatures are in the mid-40s.  Towns said that presently the water temperatures are in the low to mid-50s, and some anglers have reported water temperatures in isolated bays in the 60 degree range.  Rapid water temperature changes can put a lot of stress on fish, he said.


In terms of musky pox, Towns said while many muskies may be infected with it, the disease is usually only fatal to a few fish. Musky pox could cause the death of some fish when the fish are under stress, for example during the spring when water temperatures can warm rapidly.


The DNR has contacted Canadian fisheries officials to monitor their side of Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River as well, and they have reported some dead muskellunge, too.  While a musky die-off was observed in the spring of 2003, very few dead muskies were reported in 2004 and 2005.


"We want area anglers to know that we are aware of the problem and we appreciate their reports of dead muskies in the waters of the St. Clair River, the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair," Towns said. "We are actively monitoring the situation to determine the extent of the die-off, however; we feel at this time it is a combination of weather, spawning stress and perhaps some disease factors which have affected the fish."


DNR Receives $3 Million in Grants to Provide Universal Access to Recreation

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials has received a $3 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will enhance access for disabled persons to state parks and recreation areas. A portion of the grant also will be used to provide local communities that apply for DNR-administered grant programs with additional funding for accessibility improvements.


The DNR will use the funds to take accessibility features at state parks and recreation areas beyond the minimal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and provide more universally accessible development projects.


The funds include $1 million that the DNR will use help local communities leverage more dollars from the DNR-administered grant programs for projects that contain accessibility features or improvements. The funding will target the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant program, but also could be used for a number of grant programs.


About 57 of Michigan's 97 state parks and recreation areas

offer at least accessible outdoor recreational opportunity or experience. Of those, 13 state parks or recreation areas and five state park linear trails would require three or less recreational elements to be upgraded to become fully accessible. An additional 13 locations would require five or less upgrades to be fully accessible.


The Bay City State Recreation Area is a prime example of how accessibility features have improved to allow more visitors to enjoy the recreational opportunities there, ranging from paved nature trails, accessible fishing piers and a fully accessible three-acre playground. Other accessible features at other state parks and recreation areas include Kitch-iti-kipi, or The Big Spring, at Palms Book State Park in Schoolcraft County which features a fully-accessible parking area and observation raft for visitors to use to observe the state's largest freshwater spring.


The DNR will begin an assessment of accessibility features at state parks and recreation areas, Olson said. After the assessment, specific locations will be chosen to showcase accessibility features that go beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.


Rainy Lake Area to host 2006 Governor's Fishing Opener May 12 & 13

The site of the 2006 Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener is Rainy Lake, located near International Falls, Minnesota, well known for its great walleye fishing and scenic beauty.


Mayor Shawn Mason, along with Bob Anderson, Boise Cascade and Pete Schultz, International Falls-Ranier Convention and Visitors Bureau, gave a warm thanks and welcome to Governor Pawlenty and Explore Minnesota Tourism Director, John Edman.


Besides Rainy Lake, Rainy River is also a great fishery.  Each spring, a special fishing season for the river, attracts

hundreds of anglers to this body of water that serves as the international border, in search of walleye, bass, sturgeon, and other species.


One of the most majestic, pristine, lake country areas in North America. International Falls, Ranier, Rainy Lake and Rainy River serve as the northern gateway to Voyageurs National Park – Minnesota’s only national park.


The Rainy Lake area is planning a fun event for this years' Opener.  There will be a community picnic at Smokey Bear Park in downtown International Falls, where everyone is invited to attend.  Come and see Smokey Bear dressed and ready for the Fishing Opener.  Fun activities for all ages.

House Approves Dedicated Funds for hunting, fishing

The Minnesota House on April 25 approved a constitutional amendment to establish a permanent allocation of state taxes - similar to what Missouri has had for years, to protect habitats for hunting and fishing, a measure sportsmen have been 

seeking for years. State voters will be asked to amend theconstitution to set aside 3/16 of 1 % of current state sales tax collections, and dedicate it to hunting and fishing habitat. The Senate has already passed a bill that increases the sales tax by 3/8 of 1 %.

New York

DEC Announces Revisions to 2006 Recreational Fishing Regs

Changes, Effective Immediately, Comply With Federal Requirements for 3 Species

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced changes in 2006 recreational fishing regulations for summer flounder (fluke), scup (porgy) and monkfish.


The new regs, effective immediately, are:

Fluke: minimum length – 18”, possession limit - 4, open season - May 6 to September 12.

Porgy: open season - June 1 to October 31. All other regulations for porgy remain unchanged.

Monkfish: minimum length – 17”, tail length – 11”. All other regulations for monkfish remain unchanged.


These changes supersede 2005 regs which included: fluke: minimum length - 17.5”, possession limit - 5, open season - April 29 to October 31; porgy: open season - July 1 to October 31; monkfish: minimum length – 21”, 14” tail length.


New York participates in the cooperative management of migratory marine fisheries under the Interstate Fishery Management Program of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Under that program, ASMFC adopts Interstate Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs) for individual species or groups of fish.


Under the FMPs for fluke and porgy, ASMFC assigns each state an annual harvest target or quota. The state's harvest for the upcoming year is projected, assuming regulations remain the same and harvest patterns and rates remain the same as the previous year. If the projected harvest exceeds a state's assigned quota, the state must, as an FMP compliance requirement, make its harvest regulations sufficiently more restrictive to prevent exceedance of its quota. ASMFC reviews, and must approve, each state's regulations as compliant with

the FMP.


New York's projected fluke harvest for 2006 exceeds the State's assigned quota by 26 percent. The regulatory changes in the emergency rule announced today achieve a 26 percent reduction for fluke, keeping New York in compliance with the FMP.


The changes to the FMP for porgy allow for expansion of the recreational fishing season for the species. New York's marine recreational porgy fishery will benefit as a result of the expanded season.


The emergency rulemaking lowers New York's size limit for monkfish in order to achieve consistency with federal regulations and with regulations in neighboring states (size limit: 17" total length, 11" tail length). Prior to this amendment, New York's size limit for monkfish was 21" total length, 14" tail length, which prevented New York foodfish dealers from taking in product from neighboring states where the size limit was lower. In addition, fishermen with federal permits could not land monkfish in New York if the fish were under New York's size limit, even though the fish were taken legally from adjacent federal Exclusive Economic Zone waters (3 - 200 miles offshore) in accordance with the federal size limit. The emergency rulemaking corrects this inequity.


For more info, contact DEC's Marine Resources Division at 631-444-0435 or view Marine fishing regulations at: www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/marine/finfish/



The emergency rule will expire on July 24, ‘06. The Dept is proposing to adopt it as a permanent rule. Public comment on the proposed rulemaking may be filed May 17 - July 3, 2006, to: Fishing Regulations, NYSDEC Marine Resources, 205 N Belle Mead Rd, Ste 1, E Setauket, NY 11733-3400; or by email at [email protected]


Spring Turkey season off to a good start     

Young hunters killed 1,872 birds statewide first two days

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio hunters harvested 3,058 bearded wild turkeys on the first day of the spring turkey hunting season, which is open statewide through May 21, according to the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife. The preliminary opening day figure was just over 8 % higher than last year’s opening day harvest number of 2,824 turkeys.


Top counties for wild turkeys killed were Athens-144; Guernsey-120; Meigs-116; Ashtabula-114; Tuscarawas-102; Jackson-101; Washington-90; Harrison-83; Jefferson-82; Belmont-79.


This is the seventh year that spring turkey hunting has been open in all of Ohio’s 88 counties. The state’s first modern-day spring turkey hunt was held in 1966.  The ODNR Division of

Wildlife estimates that more than 90,000 people will hunt turkeys during the four-week season. Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon daily. Ohio’s wild turkey population was estimated at 180,000 prior to the start of the spring season.


A special youth-only hunt for hunters age 17 and younger was held last Saturday and Sunday on public hunting areas across the state. Young hunters killed 1,872 birds statewide.  Last year, 1,612 birds were taken over the same two-day period.


Only bearded wild turkeys may be taken during the spring hunting season.  A hunter is required to take a harvested turkey to an official check station for permanent tagging by 2 p.m. on the day of harvest.  Hunters with the proper permits may take a limit of two bearded gobblers during the four-week season, but not more than one wild turkey per day.

Boater reminded to be aware of storm hazards

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio’s unpredictable spring weather can sometimes present strong and violent storms with high winds, lightning, hail and even tornadoes, as some Ohio boaters have recently learned. To ensure a fun and safe day on the water, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) encourages recreational boaters to take certain precautions before heading out this spring.


“Already this year we’ve had several incidents involving boaters caught on open water during severe storms,” said Mike Quinn, acting chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft. “Fortunately, we’ve had no fatalities. But the potential for an accident exists for boaters who do not exert care in these situations.” 


Basic safety guidelines include: checking weather forecasts before departing, filing a float plan with your marina, knowing your boat’s limitations, having a properly operating VHF marine band radio on board, and wearing an approved lifejacket.

ODNR offers these additional safety tips for boaters:

•       Watch for any significant changes in weather patterns. Listen to NOAA weather radio and additional official sources of information for the latest warnings, watches, advisories and forecasts.

•       During lightning storms, return to safe harbor as quickly and safely as possible and seek shelter inside a sturdy, enclosed building. If caught on the open water, boaters should stay away from all ungrounded metal objects and seek the best possible shelter while on board.

•       Remember that wind gusts of 34 knots or more can swamp and capsize small boats. Boaters should look for signs of approaching strong winds near storms by noting an arc of low-altitude clouds fast approaching their vicinity.

•       Waterspouts and tornadoes rarely occur on Lake Erie, but when they do these violent winds can cause serious injury and death. The best way to avoid a waterspout or tornado is to move at a 90-degree angle away from its apparent directional movement.

Additional boating safety and related information is available online at www.ohiodnr.com .


Fisheries items center stage at spring commission meeting

With the 2006 Pennsylvania Trout Season now successfully underway, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is already looking ahead to potential changes to the 2007 season.  The potential for an earlier opening day in some parts of the state, along with consolidation of some special trout fishing regulations, will be among the items discussed at the agency’s spring meeting May 1-2.


Commission committees will meet beginning at approximately 10:15 a.m. on Monday, May 1. The full Commission will meet for formal consideration of the agenda beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 2.  All committee meetings and the review of the agenda are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.


Under the current regulations for Commonwealth inland waters, the opening day of the regular trout season occurs on the first Saturday after April 11.  As differences exist in climate across Pennsylvania, however, the time frame for providing optimum conditions for trout angling during the spring is earlier in portions of southern Pennsylvania.  Accordingly, the Commission will consider a new special regulations program entitled “Regional Opening Day of Trout Season Program”.  This program, if adopted in final form at a later meeting, would allow designated waters in certain regions for trout fishing on the first Saturday after March 28, two weeks earlier than the current opening day.

The Commission staff is recommending that if such a program is created, southeastern Pennsylvania be considered for inclusion under the new rules beginning in 2007.  Warmer temperatures there provide conditions better suited for trout angling at an earlier time in the spring.  However, these same warming conditions also can limit trout angling opportunities by mid-spring on many southeastern Pennsylvania waters.  The combination of a mid-April opening day and the potential for these waters to become too warm for trout angling by mid-May constricts the amount of time that trout angling can be provided. 


Another issue that an earlier opening day in southeastern Pennsylvania will address is the movement of stocked trout prior to opening day, as well as the fact that some fish die between the time of stocking and opening day.  A southeast regional opening day will provide the opportunity to stock trout in southeastern Pennsylvania earlier for the earlier opening day and shift the stocking to the other regions for the later opening day.  This will effectively help to shorten the times between stocking and opening day throughout the state.


Also up for consideration at the meeting is a proposal to consolidate and simplify special trout fishing regulations by eliminating the existing All-Tackle Trophy Trout program.  The two stream sections in this program – portions of Penns Creek and the Youghiogheny River – are being proposed for inclusion under the Catch and Release All-Tackle Program beginning in 2007.  For more info - www.fish.state.pa.us .

Gobbler hunters can use Crossbows

HARRISBURG - With the scheduled printing of this Saturday's "PA Bulletin," Pennsylvania's official registry of statutory and regulatory changes, spring gobbler hunters can add crossbows to the list of legal sporting arms from which they may choose.


In January, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to a regulatory change to permit the use of crossbows with bolts tipped with broadheads of cutting-edge design during any turkey season.  Previously, only those disabled hunters with a permanent or temporary permit to use a crossbow instead of a bow had this option.  However, the process that the Game Commission must follow requires that any regulatory change does not take effect until it is published in the PA Bulletin.

Other legal sporting arms that spring gobbler hunters may choose to use are: shotguns plugged to three-shell capacity in the chamber and magazine combined; muzzleloading shotguns; and bows with arrows tipped with broadheads of cutting-edge design.  Shot size can be no larger than No. 4 lead, bismuth-tin and tungsten-iron, or No. 2 steel. Rifle-shotgun combinations also may be used, but no single-projectile ammunition may be used or carried.


For more information about the upcoming spring gobbler season, please see News Release #037-06 in the "Newsroom" of the Game Commission's homepage www.pgc.state.pa.us  .



Commission collecting Trout Fishing info on Lehigh

Volunteers sought for log book study

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will be collecting angler use, fish catch and harvest information from trout fisherman on the Lehigh River downstream of F.E. Walter dam.


Starting April 15 through August 25, PFBC creel clerks will be surveying trout anglers fishing in the area between the dam and Sandy Run – a section stocked with trout by the Commission. This survey is part of a collaborative effort between the PFBC, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to refine operational strategies for releases from F.E. Walter that will benefit both Lehigh River anglers and whitewater rafters.


In addition to conducting the on-the-water surveys, the PFBC is looking for volunteers to keep a log of their fishing activity on the Lehigh. These logbooks provide an opportunity for anglers to record information on their fishing activities and provide this information to the PFBC. The Commission will then analyze this data and provide the results to those who participate when the report is completed.


Inland fishing season opens May 6

MADISON – Anglers should be “knocking on wood” that warm weather holds for the opening of Wisconsin’s 2006 regular fishing season on inland waters, state fisheries officials say, because if it does they should enjoy a gangbusters opening day.


Reports from fish biologists and their fish survey results indicate that fish populations are in good shape statewide, thanks to Wisconsin’s incredible naturally sustaining fisheries and to management efforts to conserve and improve habitat. Regional fishing reports can be found in the 2006 Wisconsin Fishing Report, available on the DNR Web site.


As always, however, whether anglers land that shore lunch or a bragging size musky depends a lot on weather in the remaining weeks before the May 6 opener, says Steve Hewett, section chief for the Department of Natural Resources fisheries management program.


“We’ve gotten a lot of rain in the last few weeks in parts of the state and water temperatures are warming up nicely, so if all goes well the fish are going to be spawning soon and ready to start feeding heavily by opening day,” Hewett says. “If that happens, anglers will see some good action.”


Fish don’t feed much when they’re spawning – they’re paying attention to other biological needs. Water flows are still low in some parts of the state despite recent rains so there’s some concern that walleye and northern pike, a species which particularly relies on flooded fields for spawning grounds, won’t be done spawning when the season opens, making them more difficult to catch.


Spawning is triggered by a combination of temperature and time; “often the fish are very sensitive to flow levels when it’s close to spawning time.”


People fishing Wisconsin waters catch a lot of fish, Hewett says, citing a 2000-01 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point survey of Wisconsin anglers that estimated they catch 69 million fish. They keep about one-third of that total, or 31 million, and release the rest of the fish to fight another day. Walleye and bass are the most popular targets, but anglers catch more panfish -- bluegill, yellow perch and crappie –

followed by walleye and largemouth bass. That statewide angler survey is being repeated during the 2006-2007 fishing season.


Wisconsin typically sells 1.4 million fishing licenses, and state fisheries officials figure the number of anglers swells significantly higher when children and adults who aren’t required to have a license, including military personnel on active duty or furlough, are figured in. A recent DNR survey of adult recreational participation (pdf; 185 kb) revealed that 48 percent of Wisconsin adults fished, and that figure climbed to 60 percent for northern Wisconsin residents.


Wisconsin trails only Florida in the number of days non-resident anglers spend fishing here. Altogether, these anglers fish 22 million days in Wisconsin, generate $1.2 billion in retail sales, a total economic impact of $2.3 billion, and $90 million in tax revenue for state and local governments, according to the American Sportfishing Association. A report is available on the association’s Web site at

www.asafishing.org .


Season dates and regulations

The game fish season opens May 6 on inland waters for walleye, sauger, and northern pike statewide. The 2006-07 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations (pdf; 293 kb) are available at all license outlets and on the DNR Web site. The largemouth and smallmouth bass southern zone opens May 6, while the northern zone opens for catch and release only from May 6 through June 16. From June 17 to March 4, 2007, there’s a minimum length limit of 14 inches with a daily bag limit of five fish in total. The northern zone is the area north of highways 77, 64 and 29.


The musky season opens May 6 in the southern zone and May 27 in the northern zone, with Highway 10 the dividing line.


The seasons for rock, yellow and white bass, panfish, bullheads and rough fish, catfish, cisco and whitefish are open all year. Check the 2006-2007 Guide To Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations for special regulations listed by county, for regulations on the Great Lakes and boundary waters, and for tributary streams to Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

Stocking trucks rolling across the state

Lake Michigan fish, catchable-size trout critical for fishing opportunities

RACINE – State fish stocking trucks are rolling across Wisconsin this week, and that’s particularly good news for trout anglers and Lake Michigan anglers.


This year marks a return to stocking catchable-size trout in dozens of so-called “put and take” waters after two years of such stocking being reduced or eliminated because of budget cuts, fisheries officials say.


Trout and salmon are again being delivered to tributary waters of Lake Michigan, a crucial part of maintaining fishing opportunities in Wisconsin waters of the big pond.

“Most waters don’t need stocking,” says Mike Staggs, Wisconsin’s fisheries director. “But stocking is critical to fishing on Lake Michigan and for the waters receiving put-and-take trout. Without it, there would be very limited or no fishing opportunities on these waters. Stocking efforts are a very visible sign of anglers’ license dollars at work.”


Trout and salmon reared at DNR hatcheries are the backbone of the sport fishing industry on Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, he says. Sportfishing in 2001 on Wisconsin waters of the Great Lakes generated a $384 million economic impact and supported 4,200 jobs in 2001, according to figures from the American Sportfishing Association.


Horicon Marsh Bird Festival May 11-15

HORICON, WI – Beginners to veteran bird watchers will all find opportunities to learn new birding skills at the 9th annual Horicon Marsh Bird Festival May 11 through 15. From a beginning bird watching course, to bird banding and live birds of prey demonstrations, pontoon tours and morning, evening and daytime hikes, the festival includes more than two dozen activities.


Bill Volkert, Department of Natural Resources Naturalist for the Horicon State Wildlife Area, will be performing bird-banding demonstrations where visitors will be able to see tiny songbirds up close in the hand and learn about their harrowing migratory journeys. Volkert will also lead a hike in search of wood warblers, which are often called the “jewels of the bird world,” he says, because they are the most colorful, but are also challenging to identify by sight and sound.


Beginning at 12:01 a.m. May 13, the festival will also feature the “Big Sit,” during which members of the Horicon Marsh Bird Club will take turns confining themselves to a 17-foot circle as they attempt to find and identify as many birds as possible from that spot over an entire day. Visitors are invited to come join them, watch their progress, and help locate birds. The

event is a fund raiser for the bird club and festival.


Bird experts will lead various birding tours for audiences of all ages.


A complete list of activities is available at: www.marshmelodies.com . Events are held at a variety of locations, including the Department of Natural Resources Horicon Service Center and the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.


The Horicon Marsh Bird Festival is just one of the many spring activities at Horicon Marsh. Marsh Melodies is a five-weekend extravaganza celebrating the wonders of Horicon Marsh. Each weekend has a different theme with unique programs and activities for the general public.


Marsh Melodies events are provided in cooperation with state and private agencies located around Horicon Marsh. The partnership includes the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Horicon Marsh Bird Club, Horicon Marsh Boat Tours; Friends of the Horicon Marsh International Education Center; Rock River Archeology Society; and Horicon and Mayville chambers of commerce.


Province works to restore Atlantic Salmon

Aim To Bring Atlantic Salmon Back To Lake Ontario

TORONTO — The province and its partners are working to restore Atlantic salmon to Lake Ontario, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced last week.


“Research has shown that some streams flowing into Lake Ontario can provide the habitat young Atlantic salmon need to thrive,” said Ramsay. “By restoring Atlantic salmon we are improving Ontario’s biodiversity and providing a healthier environment for humans with an abundance of natural resources.”


Restoring the Atlantic salmon is a partnership among the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Australia’s Banrock Station wine company and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Initial stocking efforts will focus on Duffins Creek, the Credit River and Cobourg Creek because of their high-quality spawning and nursery habitat, and strong community support. The province and partners will stock about 400,000 Atlantic salmon fry and fingerlings this spring and fall. Another 50,000 will be stocked next spring.


“It's exciting to see another great result from the LCBO environmental strategy to reduce package waste and help preserve Ontario's natural heritage,” said David Caplan,

Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal and Minister responsible for the LCBO. “By funding projects like this one to help restore Atlantic salmon, LCBO customers, employees and suppliers are making a tangible contribution that will have wide ranging environmental benefits throughout the Lake Ontario watershed.”


The partners are contributing $1.5 million or services to help move ahead with Atlantic salmon restoration over the next five years. Funding will go toward enhanced fish production, research and monitoring, habitat rehabilitation and stewardship initiatives. The Ministry of Natural Resources will set direction for restoration and the ministry’s fish culture program will continue to play a significant role in raising the fish required for restoration as well as provide expert advice to our stocking partners. The ministry will also continue to provide strong scientific and technical support to restoration efforts.


Atlantic salmon are recognized as an important part of the natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ontario basin, and a good indicator of environmental health. Atlantic salmon disappeared from Lake Ontario by the late 1800s mainly because of habitat loss in streams. The ministry renewed a long-term program in 1995 to restore self-sustaining populations of Atlantic salmon to Lake Ontario.

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